Monday, September 28, 2009
The words are still ringing in my ears as I process all that was said today.
Yes, the world is broken.
Yes, the world is so distraught with sickness, sorrow, pain, and suffering that one has to wonder if there really is a God.
Yes, the world is in serious need of a Hero.
But, could it also be said that this unbelievable brokenness is beautiful?
I know that there is something remarkably tragic of people dying by the thousands every day by lack of food or clean water. I know that there is something that stirs within us when misfortune befalls upon someone else. I know that we should strive to better the world in everything we do, and I know that oftentimes (at least in America) nonbelievers are more active about helping others than many Christians. In some ways, I believe that this lack of help might be the most tragic of all.
But, consider with me the beauty of this brokenness for a moment.
When you are suffering, or in need. How beautiful is it when God provides for you in that need? How scandalous that He would listen to you completely without condescending you for your mistakes!
How beautiful is it then, when we as followers of the Way engage in providing for others with the skills and resources that has been given to us by the Father. Suffering in and of itself can be beautiful, how much more then if we are extending the hand of God through our efforts. He doesn't need our help to support, and to provide, but story after story reveals that God loves to use other people to meet a need. Especially ones that are often unspoken and kept secret.
It is also beautiful to consider that despite everyone's beliefs and thoughts, people want a Hero. They want a savior. In some ways, this suffering opens up the hearts to the True message of the Gospel. I do not know if I could really explain what I mean by that at the moment. It just feels that the message of the Gospel currently is distorted from its original creation. People WANT God, they just don't know that what they want is Him. I believe this is largely to the fault of Christians acting inappropriately and unloving to those around us. For that, I apologize on behalf of all Christians we do not follow the mandate of Imago Dei when we shun everyone for their beliefs, past, or lifestyle. It completely contradicts what is depicted to us in Scripture.
I don't really know if I'm making any sense, but when I think of all the things that trouble the world, I see an opportunity to be a part of something so magnificent, so miraculous, that it could only have been orchestrated by an all knowing and all loving God.
I feel like this song fits in well with what I'm saying, so I thought I'd share it as well.
Oh My God
by: Jars of Clay
Oh my God, look around this place,
Your fingers reach around the bone,
you set the break and set the tone
For flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain all fools say, "Oh my God."
Oh my God, why are we so afraid?
we make it worse when we don't bleed,
there is no cure for our disease.
Turn a phrase and rise again,
or fake your death and only tell your closest friends,
Oh My God.
Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief.
Weddings, boats, and alibis,
All drift away, and a mother cries...
Liars and fools, sons and failures, theives will always say..
Lost and found, ailing wanderers, healers always say..
Whores and angels, men with problems, leavers always say..
Broken hearted, separated, orphans always say..
War creators, racial haters, preachers always say..
Distant fathers, fallen warriors, givers always say..
Pilgrim saints, lonely widows, users always say..
Fearful mothers, watchful doubters, Saviors always say..
Sometimes I can not forgive
and these days mercy cuts so deep,
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep.
While I lay, I'd dream we're better, scales were gone and faces lighter,
When we wake we hate our brother, we still move to hurt each other,
Sometimes I can close my eyes and all the fear that keeps me silent,
Falls below my heavy breathing, what makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder, we all have the need for wonder.
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the plunder.
Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven,
All the times I thought to reach up, all the times I had to give up.
Babies underneath their beds, in hospitals that cannot treat them.
All the wounds that money causes, all the comforts of cathedrals,
All the cries of thirsty children, this is our inheritance,
All the rage of watching mothers, this is our greatest offense
Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God
Grace and Peace
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I'm beginning to ask the question: What do I want?
Not in the sense of material things, but rather in a sense of “what do I really want to do for the rest of my life?” I know that this is probably a poor time to decide to ask this question, but it is something that has been nagging at the back of my mind for a few weeks now.
What do I want?
I know that I love music, that I love teenagers, and that I love most things creative based. I love to act, I love to think, and I love to talk about God. What does any of this have to do with what I want?
God has placed passions upon my heart, and I have yet to find a way to combine them all. I want to work with youth, but I don't think a “Youth Pastor” really fits that desire.
I want to be a musician, and I would love to travel the world singing songs of praise to my Father... songs of life experiences, songs of worship, songs of thankfulness... songs I have written, and songs others have written.
I want to work on video game productions: coming up with stories, with character ideas, and maybe even composing the musical soundtrack to such things. I know that video games have been seen as “entertainment only” but I have played a lot of different games that have made me think in a philosophical way. It is something I enjoy, and it's something I could see myself working on.
I am such a diverse individual just within myself. I have not been able to see myself doing things like singing in church as a job for the rest of my life. I love doing choir, and I love singing in church, but I don't want that to be my sole source of income. I want that to be a volunteer thing that I do when I'm “in town” if I'm part of a traveling band.
I do not regret taking on the Communication Major that I'm partaking in, but at times I wonder if I should have kept the Music Major as well. It's something that has been bothering me for a while now, and I don't know what to do about it.
Maybe I can be a traveling band musician dude, who writes books for youth (fictional or nonfictional), and works as a composer for video game companies?
I'm gonna be praying.
Grace and Peace.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
To know his boundless love;
To feel the breath that moves
Like the wings of a dove;
To lift my heart and mind
To the nobler things above;
To touch the heart of God,
This is prayer.
To offer my requests
To the pure and holy One,
To give my thoughts and cares
To the interceding Son;
To place my faith in Him,
By whom all that's good is done,
To move the hand of God,
This is prayer.
To trust in Him
Who is outside of time,
And who knows before I speak,
What I need.
I ask of Him
Who has promised to provide;
I ask believing every good and perfect gift
Can be mine!
I come into His courts,
I enter by His gates,
I offer up my thanks
In a song of earnest praise.
I know I have His ear,
When I come in Jesus name;
To touch the heart of God,
This is prayer.
Just thought these lyrics were really pretty. It's a song we are singing in Choir, and it touches my heart every time we sing it. So, I thought I would share with you.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"I want to ignore You sometimes, but I find I cannot because you are so irresistible."
"You were the only one love with passion's quiet rage."
I'm so tired, and broken, and feeling like I'm lost. Yet I know that You are looking out for me. Your provision has not escaped my attention. Today we talked about the "foolishness of the cross", and I can understand what was being said, but I think what is more foolish in appearance is our love for You. People just don't get it, and I suppose I understand that as well. However, I cannot turn my back on you. Let everyone else think what they think, to hear what they hear, and see what they see. I want to be lost in foolish, dying love. Foolish because I know it makes no sense to do what I do, and dying because that's what love is all about.
I want you to sweep me off my feet. I want to get soaked in the rain, with my hair messed up, and my tears joining in with the beautiful chorus of storms, of suffering. Standing with hopeless abandon, not caring about anything but your words that I hear in the core of my soul: "I'm madly, dangerously, passionately, obsessively in love with you." My heart aches to be near you, but my mind trembles in fear of such a prospect. My soul pushes for you in everything, but my flesh wants to run and hide.
I want to be lost in your scandalous, foolish, dying love.
Even my wife cannot bring the satisfaction my soul longs for. Only you can bring it's sweet relief. Trying to make my identity in my relationships only makes me self-conscious, and I lose sight of you. I am thankful for the blessing you've given me through her, and she does provide something I've always needed. Companionship. But You, only You can be the sustenance of my very being. Of who I am.
Drown me in your love.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Maybe I'm not really worried about that. Maybe, I feel sad and broken over the fact that Christianity can feel so fake at times. That it is not just me who is getting stuck in routine, but that all of us are just going through the motions. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Previously, I think, this is what made me so bitter toward the college and the people in it, but now all I feel is sadness for them. I feel sad for even some of my friends who have enslaved themselves to substance(s), to logic and reason, and have turned their back upon God because He “never did anything for [them] anyway”. So depressing.
But, I don't think it is just that which causes me to think, to process that which is running round in my brain, trying to put words to it. To be honest, I still don't know what it is that is getting to me. It's not that I lack a spiritual peace, but rather a peace of mind.
I realize this probably depressing, and for that I apologize. There are many things to be joyful about. I have a Father who cares for me (2 in fact, and a mother as well), I have a beautiful wife who could not be a better blessing in my life, I have friends who do constantly seek Him, and there is no such thing as fake hope.
So praise God in suffering, in sadness, in illness, in pain, in trials, in all things.
Grace and Peace
Friday, September 4, 2009
Imagine yourself being an alcoholic, or pregnant as a teenager, or some other type of issue (perhaps, you are very ill), and think of how much trouble you go through to get ready for church because of the dress standard. Now, picture showing up at church and every person looks at you with disgust, repulsed even, that you decided it was a good idea to bring your sin-bearing, disease-ridden body (because sickness is obviously punishment for sin) to a place of Holy worship. You would feel worthless, lower than dirt even, and so to prevent further emotional damage you just stay at home.
How many of us have experienced such a thing? If we are the body of Christ, then this scenario should be a joke, not a reality. It breaks my heart to see so many churches become like the Pharisees in the way they act. God called us to love; Jesus himself stated that to love God and love people is the very foundation of the law and the prophets, and yet we choose to be reclusive, out of the culture that surrounds us.
The church is notorious for being a few years behind the current generations; how are we to reach people when we cannot even speak their language? Don't misunderstand me, this is not about making a modern service with only modern music; it is about knowing what people are gong through and speaking and helping in those needs.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is that if we, the followers of the Way, are truly following the Master, then people would want to come to church because that is where healing happens, rather than drudging appearing there. As it stands, Christians often are not loving to even other Christians, much less the rest of the world. We have much that needs to be repaired when it comes to the church in America.
Now, I say all that, but there are people and churches who are genuinely loving toward each other and those who do not believe, and people are being changed all over the world because of His love and grace, and all of that is very encouraging to know.